Alaric II, Chieftan of the Visigoths
(Abt 458-507)
Theodogotha DI PANNONIA
Chlodovech (Clovis) I "The Great" MEROVING, King of the Salian Franks
St. Chrotechildis GJÚKUNGAR of Burgundy
(Abt 480-548)
Amalaric II, King of the Visigoths
Chrothieldis (Clotilde) MEROVING
(Abt 507-531)

Leodegild, King of the Visigoths
(Abt 527-586)


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Leodegild, King of the Visigoths

  • Born: Between 525 and 530, Westgoten
  • Married:
  • Died: Abt 21 Apr 586, Toledo, Castile

  Orthographic variations: Liuvigild, Leovigildo

  Research Notes:

His birth date range is estimated from the birth of his first grandson in [580/85], and his sons being appointed associate kings in 573. The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records that "Leovegildus germanus Livvani regis" was installed "in regnum citerioris Hispaniæ" by his brother in 569. Isidore of Seville records that Liuva established "his brother Leovigild not only as his successor but as his partner in the kingship, appointing him to rule Spain while he contented himself with rule of Gallia Narbonensis". The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records that in 572 Leovigildo recaptured Córdoba, which had rebelled against Visigothic rule during the reign of King Agila.

He succeeded his brother in 573 as LEOVIGILDO King of the Visigoths. The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records that Leovigildo succeeded "Livva rex" in 573. He extended Visigothic influence into Rioja in 574/75, and Oróspeda in 577. The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records that "Leovigildus rex" occupied "partem Vasconiæ" and founded “civitatem...Victoriacum” [Victoriaco], dated to [581]. The greatest among the Visigothic rulers in Spain, he reinforced the power of the monarch by introducing court ceremonial based on Byzantine practices. He introduced a new legal code Codex revisus (which has not survived) and also rescinded a longstanding Roman ban on inter-marriage with native inhabitants of Spain, thus hastening Visigothic integration in the country. His son Hermenegildo rebelled against him in Seville in 581. Leovigildo conquered the Suevi in the north-western part of the peninsula, deposing King Audica in 585, and suppressed the revolt of Malaricus who attempted to assume control of Galicia. His reign was marked by persecution of the Catholic church in Spain.

The Iohannis Abbatis Biclarensis Chronica records the death in 586 of "Leovegildus rex". Isidore of Seville records that he ruled for eighteen years and died a natural death in Toledo "in the era 624 (586)". The Chronica Regum Visigotthorum records that “Liuvigildus” reigned for 18 years. 1


Almost every single year of his kingship, Liuvigild marched against the Byzantines, the Suebi, the Basques, or domestic competitors. According to the chronicle of John of Biclaro, as co-king Liuvigild initiated the first of several campaigns to expand the territory of the kingdom of the Visigoths, which Peter Heather describes as a "list of striking successes". Liuvigild's first campaign began against the Suebi in 569, during which he very quickly subdued Zamora, Palencia, and Leon. Then in 570 he attacked the district of Bastania Malagnefla (the ancient Bastetania), where he defeated imperial forces. In 570, Liuvigild "laid waste the region of Bastetania and the city of Málaga, defeating their soldiers". The following year he captured Medina Sidonia, assisted "through the treachery of a certain Framidaneus." Then, around the time he became sole ruler with the death of his brother Liuva (which occurred in either 571 or 572), seized Córdoba from the Byzantine Empire. Though constantly at war with the Byzantines in southern Hispania, Liuvigild accepted the administration of the Byzantine Empire, adopted its pomp and ceremony, the title Flavius, the throne, crown, scepter, and purple mantle, and subsequently struck gold coins in his own name to commemorate the event.

Determined to exact revenge upon Liuvigild and reclaim their territories, the Suebi invaded the regions of Plasencia and Coria, Las Hurdes, Batuecas, and the territory of the Riccones. Whilst preparing to check the imminent advance of the Suebi in 573, Liuvigild received news that his brother Liuva had died, which left him ruler over the entirety of the Visigothic dominions. Liuvigild made efforts to secure a peaceful succession, a perennial Visigothic issue, by associating his two sons, Hermenegild and Reccared, with himself in the kingly office and placing certain regions under their regencies; namely, making them dukes over Toledo and Narbonne.

The Visigoths were still a military aristocracy and kings had to be formally ratified by the nobility. Visigoths and their Ibero-Roman subjects were still separated by religion and by distinct law codes. Liuvigild modified the old Code of Euric which governed the Goths and created his own Codex Revisus. He also repealed old Roman laws dating back to the late 4th century forbidding intermarriage between Visigoths and Ibero-Romans.... Through this action and others administrative moves, Liuvigild reassured his rule and when he had secured the capital, began a new campaign, during which he conquered the district of Sabaria, the province of Braganza, and Torre de Moncorvo along the Suebian frontier.

Gregory of Tours contended that Liuvigild exceeded his power when he divided the kingdom between his two sons, but it is feasible that he took this action to weaken the authority of the nobles from amid both the Visigoths and the Spanish-Romans. Whatever Liuvigild's original motivation was or whether this move to empower his children can be viewed as beyond his authority, the act stirred several insurrections— first among the Cantabri, then amid the people of Cordova and Asturia, and lastly in Toledo and Evora—at a time when the Suebi and Byzantines were planning attacks against Liuvigild. Undeterred by these manifold threats, he attended to the concerns within his empire and with his son Reccared's assistance, he succeeded in subduing the rebels who rose to oppose him. In doing so, he seized Ammaia, the capital of the Cantabri; he took the Asturian stronghold, Saldania (Saldana); he also successfully quelled insurgent activities in Toledo and Evora (Aebura Carpetana). Not given to mercy—in every rebellious region—he sealed his victories by exacting terrible punishments upon his erstwhile enemies. Sometime during this campaign in 576, Liuvigild's predominance led to the Suebian king Miro rapidly agreeing to a treaty which included paying tribute, if but for a short period.

In 577 Liuvigild marched into Orespeda, a region in southeastern Spain, and after suppressing an immediate revolt "of the common people" added this province to his kingdom. Upon the conclusion of these campaigns, Liuvigild celebrated his victories by founding a city in Celtiberia, which he named Recopolis for his son Reccared. In 582 Liuvigild then went on to capture Mérida, which had been under the political control of its popular bishop Masona since the early 570s. Over the course of his reign, Liuvigild had conquered most of the peninsula....

In 585, Liuvigild conquered the Suebi peoples, bringing an end to some forty-years of their independence in Spain. Despite several failed attempts by the Suebi to rebel against the Visigoths, Liuvigild eventually forced the them to swear their fidelity. By the end of his reign, only the Basque lands and two small southern territories of the Byzantine Empire made up the non-Visigothic parts of Iberia. However, despite his best efforts, Liuvigild was unable to establish common religious ground between Arian Christians and those of the Catholic majority. Liuvigild's last year was troubled by open war with the Franks along his northernmost borders. But overall, Liuvigild was one of the more effective Visigothic kings of Hispania, the restorer of Visigothic unity, ruling from his capital newly established at Toledo, where he settled toward the end of his reign.... 2

  Marriage Information:

Leodegild married Theodora DE CARTEGENA.


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands, Leovigildo.

2 Wikipedia article, Liuvigild, citing sources.

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